It was announced yesterday that another COVID Vaccine has been approved for use. The Astra Zeneca (sometimes referred to as the “Oxford Vaccine”) has the benefit of not requiring ultra-low temperature storage and has a much longer shelf life of up to six months more that the current Pfizer vaccine. This means that with more vaccine more patients to be vaccinated as quickly as possible. In line with national guidance the vaccination programme will continue to follow a strict order of patient cohorts who will be invited to be vaccinated first. For further information or FAQs, please see the news article dated 15th December.
Rest assured that we are all working hard to ensure that Patients are able to access a vaccine as soon as it is possible to do so. I would ask that you do not contact the surgery to enquire about the vaccine as we will be in contact to arrange an appointment with you. For us the landscape is changing very fast and we are having to adapt to real time changes to national decisions that we may not have prior knowledge of.
You may have also heard in the news that it is now being recommended that the second dose of the vaccine is moved from 21 days to up to 12 weeks. The rationale behind this change is to provide more first doses to more of the population. The Chief Medical Officers of the four home nations have agreed that prioritising the first doses of vaccine for as many people as possible on the priority list will protect the greatest number of at risk people overall in the shortest possible time and will have the greatest impact on reducing mortality, severe disease and hospitalisations and in protecting the NHS and equivalent health services.
At this time we are working very closely with our Primary Care Network and Clinical Commissioning Group to understand what this means and what impact it will have on those who will need a second dose. As soon as we have more information we will provide an update.
We are working to ensure that all patients will have access to a vaccine, in line with national direction, as quickly as possible. We would like to ask that you please bear with us and that we will contact you to arrange an appointment or to discuss if you are affected by the changes announced to the 2nd dose. As mentioned above we are in a rapidly changing situation and we are doing everything we can to ensure that patients are able to be vaccinated as quickly as is possible.
On behalf of all the Partners and Staff at Castle Partnership, thank you for all your support over the past 12 months. We hope you, your family and friends all have a healthy and Happy New Year.